Have you heard the old adage “If Your Pictures Aren’t Good Enough, You’re Not Close Enough?” Shooting in close to your subjects can give the viewer the sense that they are IN the picture, a feeling you usually don’t get when you’re on the fringes and using a long lens. The trade-off of working tight is the people you’re shooting are obviously aware of your presence and often pose for the camera or otherwise alter their behavior for your “benefit.” But, in my experience, after the initial camera-hamming (and in the case of the photo below, laughing amongst friends at the old guy grooving with the camera), they forget about you and go about whatever it is they were doing.
But it’s not easy, right? Immersing yourself into a group of strangers is uncomfortable, I know it is for me. But if you explain why you’re there and what you are doing, I’ve found people are usually more than willing to welcome you into the fold. Give it a try, next time you’re out shooting some pics, break out of your comfort zone and get closer than you’d like…I think you’ll be nicely rewarded.